Trainer Kelly Schweida admits he is worried about the race pattern for the Group Three Fred Best Classic after The Odyssey drew an outside barrier.
The Odyssey has proven one of the best three-year-olds in Queensland at distances up to 1200m but is an unknown quantity at the 1350m of the Fred Best.
The gelding went past $1 million in prize money when he was second in the Group Three Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) at his last start three weeks ago.
It was an outstanding run because The Odyssey was caught deep after being attacked in the lead but kept fighting the length of the straight.
After that run Schweida was confident The Odyssey would be a real chance at 1350m in the Fred Best but that was before the gelding drew off the track.
He said had The Odyssey drawn a soft barrier he would have been able to get an easy lead but that had changed with the wide gate.
“The Odyssey is very quick out of the barrier but he has shown he doesn’t have to lead. I don’t think there is anything that can go with him but maybe a couple drawn inside him will want to kick up,” Schweida said.
“It would be lovely to think he could get across with cover but that might be wishful thinking.
“On the plus side if you want to try a horse at 1350m for the first time the best track is Doomben.
“On the down side, this is a really hot field. I think half them are hoping to win so they can go on to the Stradbroke.”
The Odyssey is also in the Stradbroke but would need to win on Saturday to make the field.
“We can worry about the Stradbroke if he wins Saturday. But at this stage I feel his outer limit might be 1350m which would make the 1400m of the Stradbroke too far,” Schweida said.
Sydney colt Dawn Passage has been the big Fred Best market mover but rival trainers John Thompson and Tony Gollan are not giving up hope of an upset
Dawn Passage has shortened to $2.50 but Thompson, who has Grand Piano, and Gollan, with Garibaldi, believe their horses are in with a real chance.
“He’s back to three-year-old grade over a distance I think suits him, and he’s going well,” Thompson said.
Gollan was pleased when Garibaldi drew barrier one.
“It is still a hot race despite some scratchings but he is a better horse than last start and from barrier one he should get cover and settle,” Gollan said.